HI! im sarah and im fifteen(:  i wrote this for huntinglife.com it got accepted and also got me on their prostaff. i was thinking about sending it to eastmans. tell me what you guys think.

The big day, October 2nd is here. The leaves are green with hints of yellow and the air is warm.  I hike through the woods to my tree stand; the warm air smothers me with a feeling of peace. Getting away from the grind of life and into the woods for a few hours brings me to an absolute bliss.  Although the weather is pleasant I get cold chills because the feelings the outdoors brings to me.  Even if I do not bring a deer home with me, I will not return home low-spirited but I will feel cleansed and refreshed. As the season goes by, I may kill a few deer but that’s not all that brings me excitement. Just seeing nature’s changes is enough to thrill me. Watching the leaves go from green, to yellow, orange, and red, then watching them slowly disappear off the trees and the ground transform into a red, orange, and yellow mixture. I’ve learned the beauty of the hunt can be just an exciting as the kill itself.

As a child, responsibility isn’t a strong point. But it may be gained much faster and stronger if the child hunts. Hunting is a sport that involves weapons and they can’t be treated as toys.  And as a child I was taught to treat every gun as if it was loaded.  I’ve learned patience and how to be stealthy. Learning all the ways to hunt such as walking quietly by rolling you foot, when to be ready to draw back, when to stand up, how to correctly use deer estrus, how to scan the area in search for deer, and many other difficult techniques.  I remember to practice these each time I go out and hunt. I want every technique I know to be mastered.  

Hunting has taught me about respect. Not the yes sir and no ma’am kind of respect that I was taught when I was young. But I have learned to respect the outdoors, to respect my states laws and people who own the land I hunt on.  I put myself in the landowners position and think “I wouldn’t enjoy people disrespecting my land.” And I remember to treat others as I would like to be treated. Wildlife is beautiful and I see it on TV getting ruined by oil spills or enormous clear-cuts.  It hurts me to think of all the beauty that humans are destroying through their greediness.  The woods that I know will never vanish in my generation are my sanctuary.  And I sympathize for the people who can’t enjoy the forest or animals in the wild because they live in the city. They just don’t understand how hunting truly can change a person’s life. 

My dad and I have bonded tremendously through the outdoors. We fish, hike, hunt, or anything else we can find that’s outside.  Really, all our time spent together is doing these activities.  He has taught me a lot of things from tying a strong slip-knot for fishing to how to shoot my boy correctly. My Granddad has also taught me many useful things. He owned a sporting goods store in the seventies and he was also a park ranger, he goes to Montana to shoot prairie dogs once a year and buys me books and magazines to help me learn as much as I can.  My granddad takes me out to the rifle range and we shoot skeet, pistols, and rifles. All the old men up there let me try out there guns. Without my dad and granddad I doubt I would know all I do. And without the outdoors, I wouldn’t be nearly as close with them as I am.

Another of the many great traits I have gained from the outdoors is hard work pays off.  Two years ago on my first hunting trip alone I missed a doe. I blame it on myself because I hadn’t practiced like I should have. That disappointment lit me up and I was determined to be the best shot I could be. All summer I shot and shot. Finally the chance came for me to prove that my hard work actually meant something. I shot at my second deer at 42 yards while standing on my knees, turned around backwards in my tree stand. My heart sank; I knew I had shot to low and missed. I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad to tell him to help me look for my arrow, it could be anywhere. He came down to the clearing where I had shot and we looked a long time for that arrow that was nowhere to be seen. I searched and searched, but I found something a million times better than an arrow. Blood.  A smile hit my face so hard that I couldn’t even speak. My dad noticed and he looked at me like I was crazy. I found the words and told him about what I spotted. That was the start of our night. I had barely nicked the lungs and he ran a little ways but eventually we found him. A little spike but I didn’t care; I had a kill under my belt. I was so proud.

Hunting isn’t for everyone, but if you love it and get out there you can learn some of the most important qualities a person can earn in their life. The beauty of nature, responsibility, respect, the value of family and friends, and that hard work truly does pay off. These aren’t the only things a hunter can learn, but they are some of the most precious characteristics.